Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Insulin plays central role in aging, Brown scientists discover

03.06.2004


The life expectancy of fruit flies increases an average of 50 percent when signals within cells of fat tissue are blocked or altered, new Brown University research shows. Published in the current issue of Nature, results of the study suggest that reduced levels of insulin in one tissue regulates insulin throughout the body to slow aging – a finding that brings science one step closer to cracking the longevity code.



When the chemical messages sent by an insulin-like hormone are reduced inside the fat cells of fruit fly, the fly’s lifespan increases significantly, according to new research conducted at Brown University.

A similar phenomenon has already been observed in worms, according to Brown biology professor Marc Tatar. But never before, Tatar says, has it been seen in fruit flies – whose 13,601 genes are shared in many ways by humans.


The experiment, detailed in the current issue of Nature, also sheds important light on the role insulin plays in the regulation of its own synthesis.

Block the hormone’s action inside a few specific cells, the study shows, and the entire body stays healthier longer. Scientists previously thought insulin triggered other hormones to achieve this effect, but Tatar and his team found that insulin regulates its own production and that it directly regulates tissue aging. The principle: Keep insulin levels low and cells are stronger, staving off infection and age-related diseases such as cancer, dementia and stroke.

“Think of the body like a car,” Tatar says. “We knew insulin controlled the car’s speed by regulating things like the gas pedal and the fuel injectors. Now we know that insulin is also the fuel that makes the engine go.”

To conduct the experiment, Tatar and four other Brown researchers created a line of genetically altered flies which had dFOXO – a protein controlled by the fly equivalent of insulin – inserted into the genetic material of fat cells near their brains.

Some flies were fed mifepristone, a chemical copy of progesterone. This hormone activated a switch attached to dFOXO, which in turn repressed the normal insulin signals inside the cells. As a surprising result, insulin production was lowered throughout the body. These flies lived an average of 50 days – 18 days longer than flies whose insulin signals went unchecked.

“We now know that insulin is a direct player in the aging process,” Tatar says. “So the research fits some key puzzle pieces together. And it should change the way we think about aging.”

Tatar’s research is part of a growing body of evidence linking low insulin levels to increased longevity. In recent years, scientists have found that mice and other animals live longer when they eat a low-calorie diet, which reduces insulin production.

“Aging regulation is a complex physiological process of nutritional inputs, metabolic regulation and hormone secretion,” Tatar says. “But we still have so many unanswered questions.”

Tatar and his team conducted their research over an 18-month period. The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Federation of Aging Research, the Ellison Medical Foundation and Pfizer Inc.

Wendy Lawton | Brown University
Further information:
http://www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau//2003-04/03-149.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>